Cooling Fan Assembly Buyer’s Guide
- Most cooling fan assemblies include a mounting shroud, fan blade, and a motor.
- They draw air into the radiator to transfer the heat from the engine coolant to the outside air.
- They are typically installed between the radiator and the engine.
- Cooling fans could be electric or engine driven.
- Unusual crackling sounds from the radiator, frequent car overheating, and diminished air conditioning functions are some of the signs of a bad cooling fan assembly.
- A cooling fan assembly replacement costs around $400 to $500 on parts alone.
The cooling fan assembly helps lower the engine's temperature by drawing air into the radiator. Considering the harsh working conditions that it's constantly subjected to, it's not surprising for it to succumb to the effects of wear and tear over time.
If you're in the market for a new cooling fan for your vehicle, here are a few things you should know.
What is a Cooling Fan Assembly?
A cooling fan assembly is made up of a mounting shroud, a fan blade and a motor. It draws air into the radiator, transferring heat from the engine coolant to the outside air. To understand how it works, let's recap how engine cooling works.
How a Cooling Fan Works
Coolant flows from the radiator through the engine to absorb excess heat. Once the engine is cooled down, the heated coolant makes its way back to the radiator. The cooling fan assembly blows air through the radiator to cool the coolant down before the latter goes back to the engine's water pump.
The cooling fan is typically installed between the radiator and the engine. It can be found in front or behind the radiator. Air flow in the radiator is crucial, especially for modern vehicles with smaller radiator grille sizes. It is driven by either an engine crankshaft or an electric motor.
Electric Cooling Fan Assembly
Electric cooling fans are powered by the car’s electrical system. They are controlled by an electric thermostat, which activates the motor when it exceeds a certain temperature. This keeps the cooling system efficient. Problems with the cooling fan motor is often the cause why this part malfunctions.
Types of Electric Cooling Fans
Pusher fans are usually located at the front of the engine. They are typically seen in vehicles with space constraints in the engine bay. Pusher fans work by pushing air into the radiator.
Puller fans are used in vehicles with ample space between the radiator and the engine. They are attached to the back of the vehicle engine. Puller fans work by pulling air into the radiator.
Engine-Driven Cooling Fan Assembly
Engine-driven fans need an engine crankshaft to work. As you start your engine, the manual cooling fan starts to spin. Although most cars have electric cooling fans installed, some still have fans that need clutch systems to work.
Flex fans are also engine driven. They are normally seen in high-performance racing vehicles because of their thin blades. They produce less vibrations and noise compared to other types of cooling fan assembly.
Getting the Right Cooling Fan Assembly
Check out these tips for choosing the best cooling fan assembly for your vehicle:
Manual vs. Electric
A cooling fan assembly comes in two types: manual and electric. When choosing one for your vehicle, it's important to weigh the pros and cons of each type to see which suits your needs best.
A manual or engine-driven cooling fan assembly powers up the moment you turn the engine on. Its airflow increases along with the engine's speed, capably providing your vehicle with more air at higher engine RPM compared to an electric cooling fan assembly.
This type is especially useful if you're worried about overheating at high speeds or if you frequently take your vehicle on off-road adventures.
On the other hand, an electrical cooling fan assembly is recommended if your goal is improved engine performance. Unlike a manual fan, this has no parasitic loss, providing more power and less engine drag. However, this type isn't suitable for vehicles with a restrictive cooling unit.
Tips for Choosing the Right Cooling Fan Assembly for Your Vehicle
- Check for vehicle fitment before purchasing a replacement cooling fan assembly.
- Know the CFM (cubic feet per minute) rating of your vehile's cooling fan. This rating essentially measures how much air a fan moves.
- Make sure that your fan has a minimum of four blades. The more blades it has, the more efficient it will be in cooling your radiator.
- Choose a fan that comes with a product warranty to ensure its quality.
How Much Does a Cooling Fan Assembly Cost?
A cooling fan assembly usually costs around $400 to $500 for parts alone. Prices vary depending on the brand you choose and your vehicle's specific year, make and model.
Quick and Easy Steps for Replacing a Cooling Fan Assembly
Here are the tools you need and the steps you should follow when replacing the cooling fan assembly:
Difficulty level: Moderate
Tools you'll need:
- Ratchet and socket set
- Replacement cooling fan assembly
Step 1: Turn your vehicle's engine off and let it cool down sufficiently before you start working underneath the hood.
Step 2: Using your hands, carefully disconnect the car's battery. Isolate the negative battery cable and make sure that you place it away from the battery terminal.
Step 3: After making sure that the battery is disconnected, remove the electrical wirings attached to the radiator. Work carefully to avoid damaging any part.
Step 4: Using the ratchet and socket set, loosen up the bolts that hold the housing of the cooling fan assembly in place. Carefully pull it out after you remove all its bolts.
Step 5: Place the replacement cooling fan assembly in its mounting location. Don't forget to double-check if everything is properly aligned to avoid encountering any problems.
Step 6: Secure the new cooling fan assembly in place using the bolts that you removed earlier. Again, use the ratchet and socket set when reattaching the bolts. Make sure that you tighten them up sufficiently to keep the cooling fan assembly from coming lose while in use.
Step 7: Reconnect the electrical wirings as well as the car's battery.
Step 8: Turn the engine on and let it run for a few minutes to see if the new cooling fan assembly is functioning properly. You shouldn't encounter any engine overheating problem if it's in good shape.
Replacing a cooling fan assembly is a DIY job that takes about an hour to accomplish if performed properly. If you're an expert DIYer, you can possibly finish this in just 30 minutes.